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In urban areas, the streets typically are a continuous grid that allow pedestrians to get places by the most direct route.  Impediments such as storm culverts and railroads typically have frequent crossings.   Many suburban areas have neighborhoods with discrete typically wooded boundaries intended to prevent through vehicle traffic.  To go from one vicinity to the next, one exits to a main street or  highway.  For those driving it's not a problem.  For those on foot it can add miles and force walks along a noisy roads that require frequent dangerous feeder road crossings. 

Railroad underpass

Short connector paths, typically through wooded areas or a stream valleys,  allow  a more direct route along safer roads.   Some connectors are paved and have expensive bridges crossing creeks, others cost nothing, being basically 'desire paths' where those using them break back over-growth as they walk.

In many areas these connectors exist but, being undocumented, are of little use except to the few who know about them.  

Types of connector trials 

     - Stream valley crossings
     - Tunnels under roads and rail
     - Between houses 
     - On municipal power or water line easements



Municipal Comprehensive plans sometimes note formalized  neighborhood connectors and many walking clubs particularly local chapters of American Volksport Clubs, maintain such information for walking event planning.

Municipal parcel property maps for non-commercial parcels owned by park, water, and transportation authorities.  The presence of connectors can be often be confirmed by computer using using free satellite imaging resources such as Google Earth

Google Earth provides an easy vehicle for small groups or individuals to document and publish  known connector paths.   Small groups or an individual can easily note their known connector locations.   

EXAMPLE GOOGLE EARTH MAP  [requires free Google Earth program]
Provides an example of relatively comprehensive list of connector paths for an area south of Washington D.C. in the covering Zip Code areas  22306 through 22309.   (C) signifies neighborhood connectors paths.
(R) signifies a related pedestrian assets, the location of year-round restrooms assets that are open daily for the majority of the day. 

A cul-de-sac showing a desire path and a sidewalk thru a gated fence
Click image for Wash DC Area



Durham N.C. Example



Excerpt from an example advocacy worksheet

A no trespassing warning was posted at an existing neighbor connector trail.  [Pink line on left below]  County property parcel maps were used to find and document government owned property that could be used to establish a new path.  In the case below the property was owned by a Park Authority.   PA's fear un-budgeted maintenance obligations.   Initially the PA 'trails coordinator' was asked only for permission to cut back foliage along an existing deer path.  Later, after usage was established, additional help was requested via elected officials.   In some municipalities a trail implies a more serious undertaking then asking to establish a path.   Note parcel numbers were included on the map to facilitate public support. 

For immediate consideration,

  1. FCPA consider  marking a trail entrance where Wellington Road north of the stream terminates at the Park Authority property.

  2. FCPA add a few large rocks to facilitate stepping across the stream

  3. Add some crushed stone or wood chips to the muddy spots on the path.

Property Parcel Map

Long term,  consider adding budget items to the FCPA spend plan to

  1. Improve path between the split in Wellington Road (Green Line on Map)

  2. Provide a better stream crossing